34 Reasons to Stop Writing Forever

I am now 34 years old. To date, I have zero bestsellers to my name. Clearly it’s time to give up writing forever. I mean, what’s the point of dragging it out for another three or four decades before I meet my untimely demise?

If you’re thinking whether or not you should do the same, here are 34 reasons you most definitely should never write another thing as long as you live.

1. You’re over 25 years old and have never written a bestseller (other than the time your self-published novel hit #99 in a sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-sub category at 2:47 AM on Amazon).

2. You are X years old and you know that so-and-so author had Y number of books written by that age. Naturally, you have fewer than Y number of books.

3. An online lit mag with 12 monthly readers rejected the best story you’ve ever written.

4. Only 10% of your friends bothered to “like” your last Facebook status about your new publication.

5. You haven’t had anything published or accepted in the past week.

6. You recall some English professor telling you that you wouldn’t make it as a writer.

7. Your mom promised she was going to buy copies of your book for all her church group friends, but you don’t see any reviews from any of them on Amazon.

8. A Goodreads user named Bloodynazibung69 gave your book a 1-star review.

9. There were more empty chairs than full ones at your last reading.

10. A casual Facebook friend you haven’t seen in seven years turned down a free signed copy of your book and said, “A PDF copy would be fine.”

11. Your high school didn’t list your latest publication in the class notes section of the last alumni newsletter.

12. You didn’t write at least 1,000 words before breakfast this morning.

13. You wrote 1,000 words before breakfast this morning, but at least 997 of them sucked.

14. 3 people unfriended you after you spammed 712 of your friends with a personal message about your upcoming publication.

15. Someone on Twitter said something that wasn’t 100% encouraging about your writing.

16. No one said anything about you on Twitter.

17. Your computer spontaneously shut off the other day when you were in the middle of the fifteenth chapter of your latest masterpiece, and you’re pretty sure the autosaved version was missing at least half a page, which just so happened to be the best half page you’ve ever written.

18. Your last submission was rejected because you didn’t follow the guidelines.

19. The New Yorker still hasn’t responded to that query about your awesome series of hilarious politically charged sestinas.

20. You didn’t get any Pushcart nominations during the past year. Not even one from a lit mag that only published 7 stories during the whole year.

21. You had more “likes” on your status update about how you pooped twice on Monday than you did on the seventh post you made about that new poem you have up at the No One Cares Review.

22. A Facebook friend you don’t really like had more publications than you last year.

23. You didn’t like any of the stories published in the last issue of the magazine that rejected your story.

24. Your self-published book was rejected by Amazon for being plagiarized.

25. A lit mag a friend of yours used to read for three years ago rejected your story even though you mentioned that friend by name in your cover letter.

26. One of the contributor copies of your last book had a small tear in the cover.

27. You know for a fact that your last submission was rejected because of the preconceived notions the editor had about you based on your name.

28. You weren’t invited to do anything cool at AWP even though you bought your plane tickets 17 months in advance and posted 47 times on Facebook about how you were going to AWP an it was going to rock.

29. You bought more books than you sold last year.

30. The writer friend you asked to edit your novel said she couldn’t relate to the misogynistic main character.

31. You ran out of manila envelopes and can’t query the seven remaining agents who don’t take electronic submissions.

32. Your last query was rejected because your Pride and Prejudice spin-off, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Minions, seemed a bit too unoriginal, not to mention a massive lawsuit waiting to happen.

33. The dinosaur erotica book you self-published didn’t even make the top ten on Amazon for Erotica > Dinosaur Erotica > Winged Dinosaur Erotica > Winged Dinosaur Erotica Cretaceous Period > Pterodactyl Porn.

34. You consulted a list you saw on a rather unsuccessful writing blog to determine whether or not you should still be a writer.



163 thoughts on “34 Reasons to Stop Writing Forever

  1. LOL on the entire list! Being a year older (and surely wiser) than you, I can add no. 35 – only 5 people visited your blog yesterday, and two of them were your family members 🙂

  2. Yesterday, I decided that maybe I would be able to fulfill my dream of being a writer since I was 5. Today, I read this and remember why I’ve been looking at other careers for 10 years.

  3. The concept of writing is to bring life to a story. 38 learning disability in English and math. I lack the spelling and grammar. It’s not going to get in the way of completing a book. Not looking to be best seller,get rich,or believe its value as useless. My hope is one day somewhere it falls in the lap and brings meaning to another life. In this dream my intuition feels I will not live to see it. To ignore it would be horrible.

  4. hahaha this made me laugh so much because I just checked on my poetry book and it’s only sold one copy in a month and so I’m sitting here miserably listening to sad songs with a gown on, eating chocolate and happened to come across this blog in this exact moment lol! Well you’ve cheered me up haha

  5. Just remember, some successful writers didn’t publish work until they were so much older than 34! Look at Laura Ingalls Wilder – she became a successful free lancer at age 44 and didn’t publish her best-selling ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series until she was 64. There’s plenty of time!!! Just enjoy what your doing and stick with it 🙂

  6. You need to do what is best for you. Remember Vincent van Gogh, his paintings never became famous until he passed. There are so many people writing to compete nowadays, don’t give up if it is something you truly love to do. You could still keep doing it as a hobby if you don’t want to keep trying to make a living from it. In conclusion: Sometimes we are stronger than we actually think we are, you will be okay what ever you do. Best of luck

  7. If one writes to get to bestsellers and he gets to 34 without making one, he should stop. But if one writes to define himself, the writing goes on to his last breath. Write on, my friend because you are.

  8. I’ve been writing for many years. There isn’t a day that goes by that I think some negative thought about why I should quit. But I can’t seem to quit either. There are many examples of those who never stopped though nothing in their situation said they should keep going. L. Frank Baum writing his Father Goose stories, nobody has ever heard of that book. He sold it to the company for a pittance so they would publish The Wizard of Oz. The publishing company never thought the Oz books would amount to anything. He won. I try to write every day, though it is tough going at times. Good post. I almost laughed at the computer on #17, but then I remembered my flash drive losing everything after nearly completing a book and the expert told me it was no longer even formatted. Yeah, it really happens.

  9. Oh Dear! I can add a 36th reason which would be, I had 3 likes on my recent blog and they were my own, and all because I have no idea how to get the hang of blogging as yet.
    Let alone writing a book, if you have written a book, then that is much more than most people.
    Never give up, find 34 reasons why you must never give up.
    I have wanted to write since I was a little girl, I am 58 tomorrow, I have just started to try to write a blog, and your 34 reasons are telling me loud and clear, Lady you’ve got Buckley’s!!
    You have written a book, Nathaniel, don’t turn back now
    Cheers from Annie in Australia 🌞 🌴 🌊

  10. i do not agree at all…miracles happens all the time, you can have bestseller as a young, middle age or old or even 1 day before you die.. it does not matter, important is to do what you really love in your life… whats your passion.. and what will fulfill your life..

  11. Haha, I wouldn’t have known you weren’t a successful writer, for, in fact, that post was beyond intriguing! Haha. I really enjoyed that, and it made me laugh! I hope you never stop writing, cause if you do, all that talent will go to waste! I pray you the best ((:
    And, with all your followers *shocked face* You really do have what I would consider a, ‘successful blog.’
    Haha. Blessings 😛

  12. I love writing and regardless of success I don’t see any reason why I would suddenly stop. Of course I care about how my work is received, but surely enjoyment should matter most.

  13. i am 15 and i have just started writing. The feeling to pour out everything from your mind to pages and memos, to see your own scrawled out idea, your own imagination, is what makes it worth while. So i would greatly encourage anyone who would want to write. And i would love to read/review your books or manuscripts or whatever it is.

    1. Hey I am 15 too and just started writing. I completely agree with you. Look there is no one to listen your story because everyone has a different story to tell and everyone have different viewpoints. So at some point of time, it’s good to write down your feelings and it actually makes you light. 🙂

      1. Right there with you. Its better to let it all out on a page then to have it bottled up inside of one’s self. Its already hard being a teenager as it is.
        Keep ’em hands movin’ 😀

  14. Respect!

    For years my line was, Toni Morrison didn’t write The Bluest Eye until she was 40, but now I’m 41, and I don’t know anyone who started at 41…

    Anyway, you’re on the Discover tab, and that’s not nothing.

  15. I can definitively see where you are coming from but i would have to disagree. I’ve written many books and when they are completed I give them to my wife (she never reads them) and I simply start my next novel. Why? you ask. Because I write for me, it gives me a fantastical world to escape to while being stuck in my 8 hour a day cubicle prison. My advice, don’t look at it as a ‘get rich and published’ path to success. Write because it makes you and only you happy. And if it doesn’t anymore……take up golf.

  16. Happy ‘belated’ Birthday! This made me laugh so funny, but don’t stop writing for pleasure! You ARE good at writing! I’m fast approaching 45 and still think I’ve a few books in me that one day will write. Computers have killed off about three started in my 30’s and took it as an omen, a sign not to continue (but really couldn’t be bothered to start all over again!). Thank you for writing this blog :0)

    1. “Don’t stop writing for pleasure”….now there is the whole thing summed up in a nutshell. Who are you to say something so sneakily disguised as encouragement but is really a major put down.

  17. Dude, you are probably not that good of a writer. Stop focusing on writing bestsellers and start working on getting better. This is downright depressing. You want to give up writing? Go ahead. But stop trying to drag as many fucking people down with you and quit, or keep writing. Do what you love. Don’t focus on money. Have fun.
    – An unmoved writer

  18. I’d love to give up my writing, it keeps taking up my precious sewing time. However, I can’t. I simply don’t have a choice. Whether my words end up making me “successful” or not someday, I have to write what’s clambering in my head. I suspect that you are the same way. Best of luck!

  19. I’m nowhere near where you are on the journey of book publishing however I relate to the pain of having the optimism and love of writing knocked out of you. I look at the crappy books on sale in Kmart and wonder how those authors arrived at that point.
    I wrote a short post the other day. My blog is called HOPE. My post was called SHREDDED HOPE. In the end, maybe it’s fate.

  20. haha. This post was hilarious, but, I think you’ll be writing for another 30 years, even if you never get a bestseller the passion is still there. The fact that you spent time and dedication even writing this list shows how much you care about writing. Good luck 🙂

  21. Many of us have learned the secret long ago: When it’s time to stop writing, you’ll know. And if you want to stop writing, you don’t need a reason. The trick is not to allow yourself to be mired in the past when you have the opportunity to move on to other wonderful things in life.

  22. What an insightful, thought-provoking and hilarious list. I am too serious about what people think about my work as a writer. I look at the mirror and love me, I search inside of my thoughts and love what I think, I search my emotions and love how I feel. Why do I seek acceptance as a writer? Our success should be measured by our commitment to continue to write.Your list reflects the challenge of every writer. I commend you. I will keep writing because I know I am a writer regardless of the reality of the 34 items on your lists. Thank you for providing a serious and light-hearted magnifier to the world of the writer.

  23. A little discouraging given none of my pieces of writing have ever been published and at 23 years old my goal is to have a book published at 25! So I’m on the losing end of this battle but the reality that every writer struggles with this is why I won’t give up even if I’m 34 and have 34 good reasons to give up writing is the only thing I love!

  24. I’m in college and already feel as though I should of at least finished and publish my book before graduating just in case I get lucky. But thanks to your list, I need to finish my damn book.

  25. love this. this highlights the internal monologue of the failed writer very accurately. You forgot the part where we are ‘compelled’ to write without food, water or encouragement. like some sort of Zen meditation.

  26. Nobody pays me for breathing, sneezing or farting but I have perfected skills in all these to great satisfaction. Getting an appreciative audience for this requires auditioning for TV or some other public venue. There seem to be scads of people better at this than me so I write on occasion. Making money is a whole different menu. I’ve never been good at that so I have given up trying. So I practice sleeping and hiccuping and keep an eye on the Olympics.

  27. Now I am really depressed. On #4, the percentage was actually less. Sheesh. #13 & #29 are the story of my life. So much for finally being able to claim the title of published author, eh? Hopefully that dish washer position I am applying for is still open. (Unfortunately I am not kidding) Peace out

  28. There is a lot of sense in what you wrote in this article, maybe you should look a the situation of today’s world where anything is not interesting enogh until its fogotten an then someone brings it back in the form of something new… Think about the famous painters of history, most of them become famous after dying or due certain situation they reached some fame…

  29. This was so funny. I can relate to some of them. We should keep writing though. Even Harry Potter got rejected a lot of times, but J.K Rowling didn’t give up. And look at her now, she is so rich and famous and respected. She has written bestselling books, too. Maybe you should do a post to encourage people.

  30. Reblogged this on Quoth The Wordsmith and commented:
    I have decided to start reblogging more, because there is a lot of beautiful content out there that deserves to be shared.

    So today, I chose this; a sarcastically smart, and wonderfully witty take on the many of the thoughts that can run through a writer’s head on a daily basis.

    Don’t take it too seriously, just sit back and enjoy a laugh while you sip your Friday morning tea.

    What would you add to the list? What was your favorite one?

  31. Brilliant! Never stop writing….never stop creating. I find that each story I write and every blog I post, brings out my inner person for the rest of the world to see. This is what makes us tangible, different and exciting!

  32. So you thought that writing is just about for selling your works and have others read your work?

    You should write cos you wanna write; one or one million reader won’t make any difference.

    I don’t think you should call yourself a ‘writer’ then.

  33. Number 33 was my favourite. I’m frustrated though because this is sarcasm intended to pep us up when we’re feeling down. I’m looking for the blog that says, do you meet these criteria? You need to stop writing and here’s how.

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